Jan. 18, 2008
EASTON, Pa. -
Complete Release in PDF Format
Match Up: Lafayette (9-8, 1-1) vs. Navy (4-13, 0-2)
Tip-Off: 1:00 p.m.
Site: Easton, Pa.
Arena: Kirby Sports Center (3,500)
Television: LSN (RCN-4, WBPH-60)
All-Time Series: 16-31
Streak: W, 1
Coach Smith vs. Navy: 2-11
TODAY'S MATCH-UP: The Leopards wrap-up a brief two-game homestand against Navy this afternoon. This marks the third league contest for both teams. Lafayette enters the game with an overall record of 9-8 and a 1-1 mark in Patriot League play, while Navy stands at 4-13 and 0-2 in the conference. The all-time series between the teams favors Navy at 31-16 although the Leopards won the most recent meeting, a 68-65 home victory on Feb. 10, 2007.
In that game, senior Kara Stetler scored 15 second-half points and tied the game (63-63) to keep Lafayette alive in what became a 68-65 Leopards win. After Stetler made it 63-all with 3:31 to go, Lafayette proceeded to score five of the next seven points to secure the win.
Lafayette led for all but the opening three minutes of the first half and entered the locker room with a 34-33 edge. The teams exchanged buckets over the first six-plus minutes of the second stanza, but the Mids established the largest lead by either team in the game (57-49) with 8:36 remaining. On the ensuing play, junior forward Brittany Purr found Stetler wide open under the basket, jumpstarting an 11-2 Lafayette run to give the Leopards their first lead (60-59) since the break.
LAST TIME OUT FOR LAFAYETTE: Three Leopards scored in double figures to lead Lafayette to a 57-52 Patriot League win over Colgate on Wednesday night. Juniors Jessica Spicer and Cristin Zavocki led the offense with 13 points apiece as the Leopards recorded their first league win of the season. Senior Vanessa Van De Venter finished with 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Lafayette led by as many as 14 points in the second half but a scrappy Colgate team did not give in and closed within three with five seconds remaining in the game. Junior Meaghan Malone was fouled with three seconds on the clock and her two free throws prevented the Raiders from completing a comeback.
In the first half, junior Emily Garner's jumper at the 15:55 mark tied the game at two. Sami Kozlowski briefly gave the lead back to Colgate before Zavocki's first triple tied the game at nine with 11:29 on the clock. Zavocki's three sparked a run of three-straight Lafayette treys as the Leopards held a 25-17 advantage at the half.
Lafayette upped the lead to double digits (34-23) and eventually to a game-high 14 points (51-37) after a Zavocki three at 4:50. Colgate quickly cut the lead to single digits (53-45) with 2:49 on the clock and with under a minute to play, Kozlowski drained a three to bring the Raiders within three (53-50). Lafayette would hang on for the eventual 57-52 win after Malone's two free throws.
NEXT UP FOR THE LEOPARDS: Lafayette will travel to Bucknell on Wednesday, Jan. 23, for a 7 p.m. game.
ONE STREAK COMES TO AN END, ANOTHER BEGINS: Lafayette's nine-game losing streak against Colgate was snapped on Wednesday night. The win also marked the second-straight season Lafayette has been victorious in its league home opener as the Leopards recorded a 61-58 win over Holy Cross last season.
NUMBER NINE: Lafayette's win over Colgate was the team's ninth victory this season. Those nine wins are the most-ever under head coach Tammy Smith in her six-plus seasons on College Hill. The Leopards still have 12 games remaining this season.
GENDER EQUALITY: Both the Lafayette women's and men's basketball teams were victorious against Colgate on Wednesday night. The last time both Lafayette teams recorded same-day victories against the Raiders came nearly 10 years ago on Feb. 21, 1998. The women won a 62-58 decision while the men recorded a 77-66 victory.
LEAGUE LEADERS: As of the Patriot League's Jan. 16 statistics, Lafayette was the league leader in scoring offense, averaging 62.6 points per game. The Leopards edged Bucknell for the number one spot, as the Bison are scoring 61.6 points per contest.
In addition, senior Vanessa Van De Venter is the league leader in scoring with her 283 points (16.6 ppg). The next closest is American's Liz Hayes (14.1 ppg). Van De Venter's 46.6 field goal percentage also leads the conference. Van De Venter's teammates, freshman LaKeisha Wright and junior Cristin Zavocki, are ranked second and fourth, respectively. Wright boasts a 45.6 field goal percentage, while Zavocki checks in at 43.5 percent.
ON THE MOVE: With 10 points against Colgate, senior Vanessa Van De Venter now has 1,196 for her career and stands in sole possession of eighth place on Lafayette's all-time leading scorers list. She needs 15 more to tie Laurie King for seventh. Van De Venter, Army's Cara Enright and Bucknell's Hope Foster are the only active Patriot League players with over 1,000 career points.
ROOKIE RECOGNITION: Following her performances against Fairleigh Dickinson on Jan. 8 and Holy Cross on Jan. 12, freshman LaKeisha Wright was named the Patriot League's Rookie of the Week on Jan. 14.
Wright opened the week by scoring eight points in a 66-59 win over Fairleigh Dickinson. She played 32 minutes against the Knights, the second-most minutes she's played this season, and finished with four rebounds. Wright followed that performance with 16 points against Holy Cross. She shot 8-of-11 from the field against the Crusaders while also pulling down four boards and adding a game-high five assists.
Wright has started all 17 games at forward this season. She is averaging 9.5 points per game and shooting 45.6 percent from the field. That field goal percentage places her second in the league behind only teammate Vanessa Van De Venter. Wright is also pulling down nearly six rebounds per game (5.7 rpg) and has 38 assists, good for second on the team.
LET'S PLAY SOME MORE!: Lafayette and Holy Cross took their game into overtime on Jan. 12 in what marked the Patriot League opener for both teams. It was the first overtime game the Leopards have played this season and their first since a 75-71 overtime loss to Navy on Jan. 14, 2006.
FIFTY-FIFTY: The Leopards shot over 51 percent from the field (28-of-54) against Holy Cross, including a 56.5 percent showing in the opening half. That marked the third time this season Lafayette has shot over fifty percent from the field. The first time came in a 64-54 win over St. Francis when the team shot nearly 52 percent from the field (27-of-52), including 59 percent in the second half. The Leopards also shot over 51 percent (24-of-47) against Fairleigh Dickinson.
SUPREMACY FROM BEYOND THE ARC: Junior Cristin Zavocki already set a Lafayette women's basketball record this season with eight made-threes against Fairleigh Dickinson on Jan. 8. Against Holy Cross, she came close to re-writing the record books again. Zavocki drained six more treys (6-of-8) against the Crusaders to account for all 18 of her points. In addition, the team shot 50 percent (9-of-18) from beyond the arc against Holy Cross.
BREAKOUT GAME: Sophomore Amanda Smith had a career night in the team's 66-59 win over FDU. The center scored a career-high six points in 11 minutes of action off the bench. She sank all three of her field goal attempts and also pulled down two boards and added one assist in the Leopards' winning effort.
DISHING OUT THE ASSISTS: Junior Jessica Spicer had a game-high four assists against La Salle which marked the third-straight game she had recorded four or more assists.
This season, she leads the team in the category with 60. Spicer is averaging 3.5 assists per game, an average that ties her for third overall among Patriot League players. In addition, her 60 assists are the third-highest mark in the league behind Kesha Champion of Bucknell (68) and Liz Hayes of American (65).
THREE POINT THRILLER: Cristin Zavocki not only had a career-night against Morgan State with her points, she also made Lafayette women's basketball history. Her eight three-pointers were the most in team history, surpassing Kara Stetler's mark of six, which she reached on three separate occasions.
In addition, Zavocki fell one three-pointer shy of tying the Kirby Sports Center record of nine, set by Brian Lloyd in 1995.
THE LAST TIME...The last time Lafayette won by more than 20 points, as the team did against Morgan State, was over seven years ago when the Leopards recorded a 77-51 win over St. Francis on Nov. 25, 2000.
In addition, the 83 points scored against Morgan State were the most since an 89-80 win over Colgate on Jan. 11, 2003.
HELPING HANDS: The Leopards had a season-best 18 assists against Morgan State. Six different players chipped-in assists with freshman LaKeisha Wright recording a game-high six.
BENCHMARK WIN: The 83-62 win over Morgan State was the 400th in the history of the women's basketball program. The program, now in its 35th season, has played 874 games and compiled an overall record of 402-472 (.460) and has recorded five 20-win seasons.
FREE FOR ALL: The Leopards shot 92.3 percent (12-of-13) from the free throw line against Lamar on Dec. 29. The last time a Lafayette team shot over 90 percent from the charity stripe was on Nov. 23, 2005 (15-of-16).
VACATION TIME: The Dec. 28 game against UTPA ended a 19-day layoff for the Leopards that began after the team's Dec. 8 game at Vermont. That marked the longest stretch without a game since the 1995-96 season (19 days: Dec. 9-29).
LET'S GO DEFENSE!: The last time Lafayette held an opponent to 46 points or less, as the Leopards did against Vermont on Dec. 8, was when the team limited Maryland Eastern Shore to just 44 points in a 60-44 Lafayette win on Nov. 19, 2004 at the Eastern Michigan Classic.
GO, GO GARNER: Junior Emily Garner's 20 points against Penn tied a career-high, matching her total against NJIT last season. She easily eclipsed her previous season-high of 10 as she scored 11 in the opening stanza alone.
PRIMETIME PLAYER: Senior forward Vanessa Van De Venter's earned Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honors on Dec. 3. The Economics and Business major reached double figures in three games, all Lafayette wins. She opened the week by scoring 21 against St. Francis (N.Y.), including her 1,000th career point. Van De Venter followed that performance with a double-double against Coppin State (24 p, 13 r). In the final game of the week against NJIT, she had a career-best 28 points to go along with eight rebounds.
This season, Van De Venter is averaging 16.6 ppg and leads the team in rebounds with 107 (6.3 rpg). She has reached double figures in 15 of 17 contests this year, including two double-doubles.
CAREER DAYS: Senior Vanessa Van De Venter and junior Meaghan Malone both had career days in the win over NJIT. Van De Venter had a personal-best 28 points against the Highlanders, including a career-high 12 from the charity stripe.
Malone finished with 12 points, the first double-digit game of her Lafayette career. Those 12 points included eight from the free throw line, as she sank all eight of her attempts.
RACKING UP THE REBOUNDS: Lafayette pulled down 45 rebounds against NJIT, a season-high. What's even more remarkable is that not a single player finished with double figures, as Emily Garner's nine led the team.
DOMINANT DEFENSE: The 61 points Lafayette scored against NJIT were certainly a significant amount, but let's not overlook the play of the defense. The Leopards held the Highlanders to just 30.8 percent shooting in the game (16-of-52) and to only 17 points in the opening half. That first half total marked the fewest points allowed by Lafayette in any half this season.
PLAYING THE ROLE OF SPOILER: Lafayette's Nov. 29 win over Coppin State not only extended the Leopards' win streak to three but also ended the Eagles' 22-game home court win streak, the fourth-longest such streak in the nation at the time.
VANDY VAULTS INTO HISTORY: Just six games into the season Lafayette fans had the opportunity to witness history. Senior forward Vanessa Van De Venter became only the 14th Lafayette player to score 1,000-plus points in the program's 35-year history when she finished with 21 points against St. Francis. Her 1,000th career point came on a layup early in the game. Van De Venter also became the first to achieve the milestone since Colleen Fitzpatrick did so during the 2003-04 season.
STEADY SPICER: Junior Jessica Spicer has led Lafayette in minutes played in nine of the team's 17 games this season. She is averaging 34.1 minutes of action this year and has started all 17 games. As a sophomore, she also led the team in minutes played, playing over 32 minutes per contest.
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: Lafayette's offense erupted for 78 points in its victory over Princeton as four players reached double figures for the first time since January 25, 2007. The 78 points were the most since Dec. 2, 2005, when the Leopards scored 85 in an overtime loss at Howard. The offensive production against Princeton marked the most points scored in regulation since an 89-80 win at Colgate on Jan. 11, 2003.
Lafayette also shot 47.1 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from the charity stripe in the win. That marked the first time this season the Leopards recorded better field goal and free throw percentages than their opponent and it proved to be the formula for success.
DOUBLY DELICIOUS: Senior Vanessa Van De Venter and junior Jessica Spicer each had a double-double against Princeton. Van De Venter finished with 19 points and 10 boards, while Spicer had 13 and 10, respectively. The last Lafayette player to record a double-double was Emily Garner, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds against Army on Feb. 20 of last season.
IT'S BEEN A WHILE: It's been a long time since two Lafayette players had a double-double in the same game as Van De Venter and Spicer did against Princeton. In fact, you have to go back to the 2005-06 season when Lindsay Myers (15 p, 11 r) and Emily Garner (13 p, 10 r) both accomplished the feat in a 71-59 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 21, 2005.
IT'S ALMOST CRIMINAL: Lafayette's 15 steals against Columbia marked the first time since Feb. 6, 2007, that the Leopards recorded 10 or more steals in a single game. Junior Jessica Spicer accounted for five of those steals, just one shy of her career-high of six (vs. Bucknell, 1/16/07). As of Jan. 6, those 15 steals were tied for the most in a single game by any Patriot League team this season (American recorded 15 vs. Wagner on Nov. 19).
WHAT AN HONOR: Vanessa Van De Venter opened the 2007-08 season on a high note. The senior tri-captain scored in double figures in Lafayette's three games during the first week of the season. She had 12 against Monmouth (11/12), 18 vs. Cornell (11/15) and 17 against Mount St. Mary's (11/17). Those numbers were impressive enough to earn her honorable mention from the Patriot League on Nov. 19.
THE WRIGHT WAY: Freshman LaKeisha Wright scored a game-high 20 points in Lafayette's 71-56 loss to Cornell on Nov. 15. The last freshman to reach double figures in scoring for Lafayette was Emily Garner in 2005, who netted 12 in an overtime battle with Navy on Jan. 14 of her freshman season.
RIGHT AT HOME: The Leopards opened their 2007-08 campaign with a thrilling 65-64 win over Monmouth at Kirby Sports Center. A layup by senior Vanessa Van De Venter with three seconds on the clock lifted the team to the season-opening victory.
With the home-opening win against Monmouth, the Leopards recorded their fourth-straight home-opening victory. The streak began with a 63-47 win over Radford on Dec. 2, 2004.
STEP RIGHT UP: All three of Lafayette's freshmen saw action in the season opener against Monmouth. LaKeisha Wright was given her first collegiate start and finished with five points and three rebounds in 24 minutes of play. Classmates Elizabeth Virgin and Lauren Jackson came off the bench for the Leopards. Virgin saw 22 minutes of playing time and pulled down three rebounds to go along with two points and one assist. Jackson saw three minutes of game action and chipped in one assist.
SMITH ON THE SIDELINES: Head coach Tammy Smith is in her seventh season at Lafayette and 13th overall as a head coach. In 2006-07, she directed the Leopards to its highest-ever seed in the Patriot League Tournament (No. 6) and has nearly doubled her win totals after each season on College Hill.
Smith is the fourth head coach in Lafayette's 35-year history. She has a career record of 148-219 (.403), which includes a 113-68 mark and two NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons at D-III Muhlenberg.
ACADEMIC ACCOLADES: The Lafayette women's basketball team received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for recording an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all women's basketball teams. The team, under the direction of seventh-year head coach Tammy Smith, was one of 14 other Patriot League squads to have a perfect 100 percent graduation rate for the fall class of 2000.
CLOSE TO HOME: Three players with local connections - Val Gomez (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus), Vanessa Van De Venter (Tannersville, Pa./Pocono Mountain East) and Amanda Leone (Easton, Pa./Easton) - account for over half of Lafayette's five players from the Keystone State. Van De Venter started all 30 games last season and led the team in scoring (12.0 ppg), while Gomez battled through a knee injury and started 12 games last year. Sophomore Leone saw playing time in four games during last season.
FRESHMEN FACES: Lafayette welcomed three freshmen to the squad this fall: Lauren Jackson, Elizabeth Virgin and LaKeisha Wright.
Jackson hails from Argyle, Texas, where she played four years of varsity basketball at Liberty Christian. She averaged 17.2 points per game and a 46.8 field goal percentage as a senior. She earned first team All-State honors that season and helped guide her team to its first-ever state championship title.
Virgin joins the Leopards from Novato, Calif. She was a four-year member of the basketball team at Marin Catholic and earned three varsity letters. Virgin was also named to the First Team All-MCAL and earned East Bay honorable mention.
An Upper Marlboro, Md. native, Wright played four seasons of basketball at Eleanor Roosevelt. She saw playing time at multiple positions, averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists during her career. Wright amassed 1,000 points during her career and was a member of three state championship teams.
MOVIN' ON UP IN `06-07: Lafayette can add "overachiever" to its list of attributes for the 2006-07 season. A team that was picked to finish in last place in the Patriot League's preseason poll, the Leopards finished the Patriot League regular season in sixth place. Five of Lafayette's seven wins came in league play, as the Leopards posted the most conference wins since 1997-98.
REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD: There is no denying the chemistry between sophomores Jessica Spicer and Emily Garner on the court. Perhaps that is because the two have a long history of playing ball together, beginning an AAU stint when the girls were just 10 years old. They played on the same AAU team from that point in Fairfax, Va., while also both making the varsity team at Robinson High School as freshmen. Midway through their sophomore years, Spicer's family moved to Illinois, but the duo reunited at Lafayette for the 2005-06 season.
PATRIOT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL: The Leopards were picked to finish in a tie for sixth place in the Patriot League's preseason poll. Lafayette received 33 points, as did Navy. Bucknell garnered the top spot with 10 first place votes. Army received four to place second, followed by Holy Cross, American and Lehigh.
Rank Team Points
1. Bucknell (10) 92
2. Army (4) 83
3. Holy Cross (1) 77
4. American (1) 62
5. Lehigh 46
6. Lafayette 33
6. Navy 33
8. Colgate 22
() indicates first place votes
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the 11th straight season, Lafayette features the most expansive television package in the Patriot League. This winter, nine of Lafayette's women's basketball games will be televised during the 2007-08 season, with the possibility of three more games being added during the three rounds of the Patriot League Tournament in March.
All nine telecasts will be produced by the Lafayette Sports Network (LSN), which annually produces the most expansive and highest quality television packages in the Patriot League. Each of those broadcasts will air live regionally to more than 10 million viewers on RCN-4 and WBPH-60.
As an element of Lafayette's long-term multi-media agreement with CSTV, all LSN telecasts are streamed live on the internet and available worldwide through LSN All-Access on GoLeopards.com. Lafayette was the first of the CSTV.com partners to make live video streaming available to fans everywhere when the 2000 Lafayette-Lehigh football game aired live on GoLeopards.com.
Emmy-nominated local sports broadcaster Gary Laubach will handle all of the Leopards' play-by-play duties for the 11th straight season. Former Lafayette men's basketball coach John Leone will provide color analysis for the 10th season. In his seventh year as a member of the announcing crew is RCN's Dan Mowdy, who will report on the Leopards from the sideline.